Sea Otter Smile
The Souther Sea Otter is a large (up to 50 pound) mammal that spends most of its life in the ocean waters near shore or in bays and harbors along the Pacific Coast of California. It is closely related to the weasel, and will dive under water in search of clams, mussels, and crabs. Otters live in social groups called rafts of up to 50 individuals.
They are very personable animals and their face, which seems to always be smiling, is one reason humans are fond of them. Otters are protected — they were nearly wiped out by the fur trade in the 1700 and 1800s, and efforts to save them have raised the population from about 50 animals in 1938 to about 3,000 animals today.
The two biggest threats to otters today are Great White Sharks which hunt them, and human activities, especially oil spills along the coasts where they live.
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